before Jesus’ miracles, he was born and lived

A star shone on this night so deeply set before the foundation of the world. Bright; dazzling brilliance. A thing to behold throughout the Eastern hemisphere. Followed by the Magi and beheld by the nomadic shepherds, its light focused on the city of Bethlehem, which brimmed with wrestless energy on account of its inns full of wayfarers.

The shepherds watched their flocks all the more carefully, on the lookout for wolves and other predators. How could they have known that they who were considered lowly in the natural would be esteemed so highly by the Most High? Indeed, the angel of the Lord appeared to them to announce good news of great joy. He said,

Do not be afraid; for see– I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:10-12 NRSV).

 And so after discussing this matter, they made their way into Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, with the baby lying in a manger. They beheld his majesty in the humble confines of a simple stable. And they spoke to Mary and Joseph about all they had seen and heard. Mary stored these things up in her heart. The shepherds went on their way, glorifying and praising God.

All about the beauty of the nativity scene there was played a vicious struggle for power and notoriety. Yet, the young couple with their baby in the manger humbly trusted God for his protection and provision.  Despite the savage cruelty of Herod who sought to destroy the prophesied Messiah through the murder of all first born sons, Joseph and Mary escaped with Jesus into Egypt. The moment of serenity in the afterglow of Jesus’ birth was interrupted by the ravenous bloodlust of an evil tyrant. And although he was born and raised in obscurity, known at birth only by those specially chosen to celebrate his  coming–especially the shepherds–Jesus grew strong in the Lord, learning from his earthly parents, while also gaining awareness of and sensitivity to his heavenly Father at an early age.

Jesus lived a full childhood. Playing. Learning to work and care for others. Ever mindful of his parent’s instruction, but also full of humor and all of the other normal, healthy emotions befitting a growing child. Other than a brief encounter with Jesus when he was twelve, we have no further record of his childhood. Yet, it is safe to assume it was normal, insofar as that was possible during a dangerous period in a land not friendly to common people.

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